Less than 20 days after Prof Katheria, a two-term BJP lawmaker, was sworn in as a central minister on Sunday, an Agra court in Uttar Pradesh will hear the forgery case against him.
The minster said today, "If the charges are proven, I will not just resign as minister but also as a parliamentarian."
He is charged with falsely claiming to have had work experience of three years in an Etawah college, also in UP, when he applied for the post of reader in an Agra college in 1999. The state police allege that their investigations show Mr Katheria never worked at the Etawah college.
He is also accused of changing a mark sheet for his Bachelor of Arts programme and another for his second year in a Master of Arts programme.
The minister has said that the case, filed by a rival Bahujan Samaj Party candidate who lost narrowly to him in the 2009 national elections, is a result of political vendetta. He also claimed that he had been given a clean chit in an inquiry conducted by the Uttar Pradesh government under Mayawati.
Mr Katheria has been charged with cheating and dishonesty under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code. If convicted, he could get a prison term of up to seven years. Convicted politicians are disqualified from office and are barred from contesting elections for several years after a landmark Supreme Court ruling last year.
This is only one of 21 cases that Mr Katheria has listed in his election affidavit. The Congress has questioned the induction of a minister with so many cases against him.
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